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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Rome tackles rat problem after Colosseum video

City says Rome is home to seven million rats.

Rome's city administration has moved to tackle a rat infestation after a viral video on social media of rats roaming around amid rubbish near the Colosseum made world headlines.

The footage sparked a political debate in the capital and prompted Italy's culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano to call Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri to discuss coordinated plans to address the situation.

Rome hotel association Federalberghi also stated that photos and videos of rats in front of the Colosseum presented a poor image of the city internationally.

The area in the video is directly opposite the Colosseum but comes under the remit of the city and is not part of the Parco archeologico del Colosseo which includes the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Domus Aurea as well as the ancient amphitheatre.

"The problem of rodents does not in any way concern the internal areas of the Parco", its director Alfonsina Russo told Corriere della Sera newspaper, stressing that the superintendency "systematically carries out rat extermination interventions".

The city on Friday announced emergency measures to deal with the rat problem, launching a tidy-up of the area in question over the weekend before laying traps on Monday in green areas and drains around the Colosseum.

Rome environment councillor Sabrina Alfonsi said the recent heatwave and influx of tourists had led to a surge of litter being dumped in green areas near the Colosseum, noting that rat extermination efforts would also be stepped up around the nearby Colle Oppio area.

The city estimates there are about seven million rats in Rome - around 2.5 rats for every resident of the capital - however the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (SIMA) has estimated that Rome's rat population is about 10 million, which equates to 3.5 rats per every citizen.

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